Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Let's Explore...Slideshare Groups

Thank you to Alice Ayel for getting me to look at slideshare groups. Alice's group, teaching-languages, is definitely worth joining as it already has many good slideshows designed to teach different French topics and items of grammar.

I also subscribe to E T Albert's web 2.0 tools for effective teaching but there may be a lot more to discover on slideshare groups...

Following in Alice's steps, I decided to upload my "preaching to the converted" presentation (IOW conference Show and Tell) and a "Blogging for all" presentation I did for an introduction to blogging during our termly joint Faculty meeting with Humanities.

I also tried to blog these direct from slideshare but it sent them to my student blog!!

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Conversation Prism

The Conversation Prism
Originally uploaded by b_d_solis
I am experimenting blogging from other accounts and I am now sharing this overwhelming "Conversation Prism" from Flicker.
I like the fact that the conversation is in the middle as it should be the reason for interacting with all the different products mentioned, but it could also be a bit daunting in terms of all the information it contains...

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Are we ready for Edu-Wikinomics?

As I am trying to promote and develop our new local Languages Ning, I am starting to feel the extent to which a lot of educators are NOT prepared for what I call “edu-wikinomics”.

Edu.. what?
I was very inspired by the book, Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything, which depicts an optimist picture of collaboration in the business world. In fact, I felt it was more than optimist. It presents collaboration as the only way to survive in an increasingly competitive global markets, where well-kept trade secrets and the power of highly trained and experienced executives can be threatened by the masses getting together to improve on products and ideas.

My first reaction was that if the profit-making sector could see collaboration as a priority, why was not education following suit… What are the barriers?

Isolation: some people still see teaching as an individual activity on which team work does not impact directly. “In the end, it is still me with 30 children”

Lack of trust: suspicion that the outcome will not be as good as if it had been produced by one person only. “What will be given to me will not be as good as what I have contributed”

Fear that good materials or ideas are going to be “stolen” for someone else to reap the rewards.

Time: the misconstrued idea that collaboration involved endless meetings and is time-consuming when the aim is really to make everybody gain time.

Lack of control: As teaching is not a collaborative activity per se, collaboration can sometimes feel like a dangerous loss of control over the planning and preparation process, with still the same exposure to the consequences in front of the class. “It was not really my planning-that’s why it did not work for my class”.

Accountability: Accountability for results is individual and it often clashes with the need to collaborate.

Isolation is dangerous, Education is a collective responsibility including colleagues, parents and society in general.

• If the criteria for the outcome to be produced are shared and come from the group, it is easier to challenge and control the quality of that outcome. The positive pressure on the members of the group should also ensure that no individuals want to let the group down.

Original ideas and materials should be referred to clearly, so that the group can see the extent of each member’s contribution.

Time should be gained by collaborating, if not in the short term, at least in the long term. If it is not the case, then the individual project is not viable in its original form.

Learning to let go is not easy and it really is a continuum. Teachers need to identify what they are ready to do NOW to let go and how they are going to go about developing their students independent learning skills. It is a leap of faith.

Accountability for results is ultimately personal, but let’s work on it as a team. We can all be accountable for our own results but we can also all benefit from the sum of our experiences…

Any more ideas and arguments to foster more collaboration amongst our working teams???

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Ningomania: The Aftermath of The IOW Conference 08

After mentioning the creation of our Oldham SLN Ning online group at The IOW Conference Show & Tell, I had a chat with quite a few colleagues who said to me they just had or were thinking about setting up a local online MFL group to provide support and share good MFL practice locally.

A number of new groups have been set up and are linked with ours through reciprocal membership. The groups are based in Belfast, Birmingham (Sutton Coldfield), Bath and Stockton-on-Tees.

They were created by Amanda Salt , Head of Spanish and Community Link Manager at Grosvenor Grammar school, Lisa Stevens, Primary Spanish teacher, PLL coach and eTwinning coordinator at Whitehouse Common Primary School, Marie-France Perkins, Head of Languages at Oldfield School and Helena Butterfield, language teacher in Stockton-on-Tees .

Some more teachers from my personal learning network also joined: Joe Dale (SSAT lead practitioner with a MFL/ICT blog that is now a legend), José Picardo (Spanish teacher and creator of the fantastic “Asi se hace” website. José also run the “Box of tricks” blog, which is full of brilliant ideas/ tutorials for integrating ICT into languages, Lisa Stevens and Jo Rhy-Jones (Primary Spanish and French and use of ICT tools like voicethread).

No doubt this will be a fantastic opportunity for everybody to share and learn together and off one another.

Viva la Ningomania!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Thinking Outside The classroom Box-Chris Fuller (IOW conference)

Here is the link to Chris Fuller's presentation

I will hold Chris responsible for introducing me to moblogging. It really is something I had not considered, being the proud owner of a 4 year old "greenflag phone" (definitely without a camera). Now things have changed... and I have even registered My Languages with mofuse...